File puptcrit/puptcrit.0612, message 154

Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2006 10:21:53 -0600
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] political

Thank you to all who responded on and off list regarding my "9/11 
content political productions" query.
I am well aware of the work of Bread & Puppet. I have never been to 
their Vermont home events, but have seen productions in both California 
and Milwaukee. I am also aware of the work of Great Small Work's, but 
only thru reputation and the info on the internets (GWB phrase that 
amuses me to no end)
I have a follow up question:

First a bit of background:
I am one of 8 playwrights who, usually twice a year, take part in a 
weekend production where short, all new plays are researched, written, 
cast, rehearsed and presented to a paying audience. The writers meet on 
a Thursday evening and choose a slip of paper from 3 hats: 1) Subject; 
2) Location; 3) performers.
Then, that night we go home and write a short play. At about 9;30AM on 
Friday the copies of the 8 new scripts are brought in. Plays are 
matched, randomly -the hat choice again-, with 8 directors. The 
directors randomly choose from a pool of 30 actors and actresses. Each 
play was written for 3 or 4 performers, their genders outlined by the 
random choice the playwrights mad. Of course sometimes, often actually, 
gender is bent, ignored, etc. To the delight of audiences, and actors 
too I suppose.

But I digress.
My plays are often comic at first glance, but quite dark and quite 
serious by the time the last line is spoken.
My research is a combination of desperate internet surfing with notes 
on old research from my "script ideas" file.
I had done some research on the great French magician, Jean Eugene 
Robert-Houdin (no not the American Houdini who appropriated 
Robert-Houdin's name).
Robert-Houdin had been employed by the French government to use his 
magic skills to end an 1856 revolution against French rule in Algeria.
I combined this theme with the 9/11 attacks on American soil and wrote 
a short play entitled PROFESSIONAL COURTESY, which was, as I look back, 
my artistic response to that hideous event.
It was also the first 10 minute play I had ever written after years of 
creating longer works that had creation timelines of months or even 

My short play caused quite a ruckus within the producing company.
Up to that time the plays had been, pehaps, a bit more like SNL 
sketches that plays.
My work was described as "edgy".
One fellow playwright and close friend told me that my plays was sort 
of a wake up call for the writers.
The very next night, with yet another 8 new short plays, the 
producer/artistic director, in introducing the evening to the paid 
audience said,
"Last night, writer Michael Moynihan did a sort of dark, edgy play.
So tonight we have several other edgy plays."

Later I toyed with the idea of taking PROFESSIONAL COURTESY to a full 
length play level. I wrote, researched and after a few years had a 
script. Money was raised and actors were hired for a public reading, 
held in a small theatre (whose address was, ironically, 911 West 
National Avenue) on 09/11/05. Two of the three original actors were in 
the cast. The short version had already been staged a second time in a 
"Best OF" week end, chosen as one of the 12 best out of 100 created 
over the years. The long form version was retitled AMBER'S ALERT, a 
play on the Amber Alert emergency program and the first name of one of 
the main characters, Amber, who was a Homeland Security agent, 
"hunting" for terrorists.

As I sat thru the standing room only  packed house listening to the 
read thru, as well as the often highly political discussion that 
followed, it became clear to me that a full production would have to be 
multi-media and would be quite expensive to do with a professional 
cast, large set, etc.

I had done a couple of puppet scripts to be done as small, tabletop 
style productions and was working on another. I began to re-imagine 
AMBER'S ALERT as a tabletop puppet play.

The short version was staged yet again in a benefit for me after I 
suffered a heart attack and crippling complications to the angioplasty 
that was done to "fix" my heart valve. (that adventure is another story 
for the "script ideas" file)

So, finally, my question.
Due to the obsessive/compulsive nature of my creativity, the research 
never stops. My initial focus in AMBER'S Alert was the 
historical/political connections & nature of the event. But as time has 
gone by it has become more than abundantly clear that the "official" 
USA/911 Commission version of the event is full of holes. I suspect 
most if not all Puptcitters will assume I am a complete nut-case at 
this point. But My focus is now on the unanswered 9/11 questions as 
well as it being the rational for the present WW3. Are any of you, or 
do you know of anyone who is, doing work that goes in this direction?

Aside: By know you have probably figured out that I would characterize 
all puppetry (all art) as being political (and social, and spiritual, 
and economic, and personal, and emotional, and etc.) regardless of the 
original creative intent.

Michael John Moynihan
Milwaukee, USA

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